Opening its doors October of 1935, The Harlem Theater of East Austin was an iconic cultural hub of the black community. The venue hosted local performances such as magic shows and talent shows, for which local black-owned businesses would donate prizes. Ultimately, the theater’s legacy ended in 1973—the same year it was reopened—when it was burned to the ground. While the Harlem Theater had a sad demise, the surviving community will never forget how much this theater impacted them, and created a place so many families called home.
Longtime Austinites, Sam Alexander and Pearl Cox, speak on the importance of the black-owned Harlem Theater to the youth of color in East Austin and the potential future of the Harlem Theater.